‘Free Market Healthcare’

Recall Mr Alan Freestone and his belief that somehow women are responsible for the actions of the Plymouth shooter? I checked out the website that Mr Freestone runs, and among the posts I found an article suggesting nationalised (or as he calls it, socialised) healthcare is inferior to free market healthcare.

Does this stack up? Let’s firstly consider the quality of services. Details are taken from here.

The UK has a better life expectancy for both men and women. The UK has more hospital beds per person than the US. There is more chance of reaching 60 in the UK. The number of doctors per person is virtually the same. There is a lower infant mortality rate in the UK. There is a lower death rate from cancer in the UK. There is a lower maternal death rate in the UK.

Before continuing to compare quality, let’s consider something else. Mr Freestone (and many others who criticise nationalised health care) will often hold up the NHS has an example of how poor nationalised health care can be. Leaving aside how they cherry-pick the data, they ignore the fact that the NHS is not the only example of how nationalised health care services can be run.

The French health care system is often rated as the best there is, and it’s a combination of nationalised and private health care. The French enjoy far more hospital beds per person than in the US and more doctors too. They do not pay through the nose for their services, unlike their US counterparts. In fact, very few countries pay the extortionate prices that Americans face for their health care. I compared the costs before, and they are staggering, especially for services that vary wildly in quality.

The idea that different, competing doctors could offer patients better quality of care is defied by how free markets typically work. Private enterprises will always put costs and profits ahead of the customer (sorry, patient). A doctor’s surgery that revolves around income to survive is never going to prioritise a patient’s needs.

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